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Playboy Deletes Facebook Pages, Citing User-Data Scandal and ‘Sexually Repressive’ Policies

Playboy is leaving Facebook — for good, it says — with the social giant’s latest user-privacy scandal the straw that broke the camel’s back for the media company.

Playboy Enterprises said it will deactivate its accounts on Facebook, which cumulatively have more than 25 million followers. “The recent news about Facebook’s alleged mismanagement of users’ data has solidified our decision to suspend our activity on the platform at this time,” Playboy Enterprises said in a statement.

In a tweet Tuesday evening, Playboy chief creative officer Cooper Hefner — son of the late Hugh Hefner, the mag’s famed founder — said, “We are stepping away from Facebook.”

“Facebook’s content guidelines and corporate policies continue contradicting our values,” the exec wrote. “We’ve tried to craft our voice for the platform, which in our opinion continues to be sexually repressive.”

Hefner added, “Learning of the recent meddling in a free U.S. election further demonstrates another concern we have of how they handle users’ data.”

Worth noting: Playboy is maintaining its presence on Facebook-owned Instagram (where Hefner’s statement also was posted).

For Facebook, Playboy’s move is part of a worrisome backlash against the company, exemplified by the #DeleteFacebook hashtag, that has grown in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica revelations. The U.K.-based political consulting firm obtained info on 50 million users, without Facebook’s knowledge and without the consent of the users themselves.

Last week tech billionaire Elon Musk took action last week to delete the Facebook pages of two companies he heads, Telsa Motors and SpaceX. “I don’t use FB & never have, so don’t think I’m some kind of martyr or my companies are taking a huge blow. Also, we don’t advertise or pay for endorsements, so…don’t care,” Musk wrote in a tweet last Friday.

And on March 20, Brian Acton, a co-founder of messaging app WhatsApp — which Facebook acquired in a deal valued at $19 billion — called for a boycott in a tweet: “It is time. #deletefacebook.” Acton is now executive chairman of Signal Foundation, a non-profit org developing open-source privacy technology.

About 8% of Facebook users said they plan to stop using the service because of data-privacy concerns raised by the Cambridge Analytica scandal, according to a survey fielded by Raymond James & Associates. About 48% said they would not change their usage, while 26% said they would use Facebook “somewhat less” and 19% said they will use it “significantly less,” the survey found.

Facebook has pledged to make several changes in an attempt to rebuild trust with users and partners. Those include making its privacy controls easier to use and implementing new restrictions on third-party developers’ access to user data. CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly has decided to testify before Congress in hearings scheduled for next month.

Playboy in 2014 removed nude photos from its websites and said the print mag would no longer include nudity starting in early 2016. However, last year, Cooper Hefner reversed that decision.

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